Fashions for the Pastor's Wife, by Linda Ozirney

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A quick perusal through the TV guide reveals an interesting fascination we as a society have with fashion and our image. Let's look at a few choices we have how to waste a few hours: 

What Not to Wear with Stacey and Clinton. Find out what's hot and what's not! 

10 Years Younger - The diva is back and on track! 

Style by Jury Get the WOW factor! 

How to Look Good Naked Feel sexy and womanly in your body! 

There's probably more but that's enough to make you want to get a good book and read for the evening!

While there is nothing wrong with looking great and being in fashion, there is a concern when looking great and being in fashion means you have to reveal too much of your body in order to achieve that. Why can't we look great without looking sexy! Why can't we be in fashion without uncovering a certain amount of our body?

We all know the verses from the New Testament that give instruction on fashions for women of God:

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (NIV, 1 Timothy 2:9-10)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. (NIV, 1 Peter 3:2-5)

These verses do not specifically state how long a skirt should be, or how low a neckline can be. There seems to be a greater standard that we need to establish and that is the condition of our hearts.

Shannon Ethridge in her excellent book "Every Woman's Battle" speaks of the difference between legalism and love. Legalism is stating what a Christian woman can or cannot wear. It gives lengths of skirt, depths of neckline and the do's and don'ts! Basically it answers the question "What can I get away with? How far can I go?"

Ethridge encourages us rather to focus on love. We need a standard of integrity that will apply to every age, to every culture, to every time in history. And the answer is given by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbour as yourself."

First, we love God and we want to please Him even in the way we dress. As you purchase a new outfit, ask yourself if you would be comfortable wearing it to meet Jesus? Am I adorning the temple of the Holy Spirit in such a way that it glorifies the occupant? When you get dressed each morning, ask yourself who you are dressing for? Is God included in that list?

Secondly, we need to show love to our Christian brothers by the way we dress. We all know that men are visually stimulated. A skirt that is a bit too short or tight - a neckline that shows a little cleavage, can cause a man's thoughts to veer off course. You need to know as well, that these Christian men anxiously want to honor their wives by not allowing their eyes to stray. Wearing immodest clothing can become a very selfish, unloving act on the part of unthinking or uncaring women.

If your best friend was on a diet, you would not be considered a good support if you were continually offering her a piece of chocolate! In like manner, we are not being a loving and supportive ministry leader, co-worker, and fellow Christian, when we dress in such a way as to cause our brothers to stumble. Many women today have no idea of how desperately men at church need women to dress modestly.

And finally, we need to lovingly model for the women in our churches that a beautiful woman is not defined by her fashion but rather by her heart. While we strive to look nice and fashionable, our hearts desire is to point others to the God we love. We do not want the world's standard of 'fashion' to get in the way of doing that.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:30
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